Jessica Gentry, a former kindergarten teacher, said she loves children, but that wasn’t enough for her to stay in the job she’s had for the last 12 years.
“There were a few major events that spurred my departure. I hold teaching in such high regard that watching my most recent administration laugh about students with disabilities, state that we ‘shouldn’t lose sleep over’ struggling students, say that she [a school administrator] ‘washed her hands of this year’ in April was disheartening to say the least,” Gentry told Good Morning America.
Speaking to WHSV, Michael Richards, the Superintendent of Harrisonburg City Public Schools, made the following statement:
“I would take issue with the notion that teachers are leaving the profession “like their hair’s on fire.” Ms. Gentry may have her own reasons for making that assertion. Teaching is the noblest profession in the world, and the vast majority of teachers are dedicated to the vital work of empowering the next generation. Teaching is definitely a very challenging profession, and it is not for everyone. It requires longer hours than most people believe it does, and it presents multifaceted challenges that blend social and intellectual skills. Some of Ms Gentry’s concerns are entirely valid. For instance, it is imperative that we provide teachers with adequate planning and collaboration time and that we do not pull them away from instructional time. It is imperative that we help students develop strong social skills, especially as society turns increasingly toward device-driven communication. At the same time, we need to empower students to use technology to enrich their learning and develop real-world skills. It is important that we support teachers in developing productive partnerships with parents. Many of Ms. Gentry’s concerns have been squarely on my radar for some time. I have plans to address these and other concerns here in Harrisonburg, where I started as superintendent only a month ago. Too often teachers feel that no one really understands their concerns and that solutions are imposed on them. I plan to partner with teachers so that I am aware of their concerns and they have a voice in the solutions.”
Jessica’s post has already received over 263K reactions
“There is an enormous amount of educators who feel that exact way but have felt alone and guilty for thinking so,” she said. ” I never expected it to reach farther than a few friends — but I am so humbled to be able to throw the curtains open on the issue and give those who feel unable to say it a voice.”
She hopes that her post can start some kind of change.
“I’d love nothing more than to do work with those willing to listen to change the current path our public education system is headed down. I promised my coworkers when I left that I’d be the voice for them since so many fear being reprimanded for speaking up,” she said.
And people are supporting her brave decision